Wall art and Chalkboard Cabinets for Renters

 

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It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been super busy with projects that are ready to share! Spring is here and I took the opportunity over the school break to purge the apartment and organize my pantry. This wall has had a complete overhaul due to our lack of floor space. My little one kept banging his head on a Murphy hutch that was against the wall and I knew that I had to part ways with it. I’d say that’s the toughest part of purging…letting go. It’s liberating once you do it, but the process can be tough when there are memories attached. What helped was to think of the life I would like to have with more space and once I got started it was really easy to just look at something and say “It’s gotta go”.

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The infamous table my little guy kept banging his head against. 

I’ve always liked Native American art and patterns which is where my inspiration came from. The pillows are from our first couch that we kept because we liked them so much. I decided to mirror the motif from them onto the accent wall. It’s paneled over so hanging any pictures is tough. Thank goodness for 3M picture hangers! I’ve also seen others use Washi Tape to make similar designs on their walls, but I knew that I’d be able to do it for free. After rummaging around the toolbox I found two rolls of electrical tape.  Works Just fine and has the added flexibility to sink into the grooves of the faux wood paneling. I highly recommend using a level when applying the tape. (I had the added bonus of the panels to use as guide lines).

The painting was really easy to do as well. I only buy these canvases  from Michaels when they have their bi annual art supply sale. You can purchase a pack of two 16 x 20 under $5.   I used a really inexpensive acrylic paint and Pearl Ex pigment for the painting. All of which can also be found at Michaels Craft store.

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I masked out the triangles with blue painters tape after I sketched the layout with a white chalk pencil. If you make a mistake you can easily wipe it off with a sponge lightly dampened with water. I then mixed the metallic paint with the Pearl Ex to brighten the effect. Once dry I was going to spray the whole canvas with a semi gloss but I liked the juxtaposition of the matte black and metallic paint.

To complete the look on the adjacent wall I made a macrame wall art piece. I happened to have an old dowel rod laying around and lots of cotton yarn from another crochet project that was just begging to be used for something. I really like how it turned out. It was like making a gigantic friendship bracelet with tassels.

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Now onto the kitchen. I came across a great find when my daughter started coloring on the walls when she was little. She had two huge panel doors opening to her closet and I thought they would make great chalkboards. The only problem? As renters it’s a bit tough at times to paint anything and I certainly don’t like the process of repainting once I’m moving out. The solution? Chalkboard contact paper! It’s inexpensive, easy to apply and looks great. I’ve now used it for everything around the house. Like most families the kitchen is the command center.  I’ve used every available wall and cabinet space in my tiny kitchen to help keep me and my family organized and on track. I found my Contact paper on Amazon for less that $5 a roll.

Here’s a before and after comparison of the cabinet door. I love these chalk markers that I found at Target. From the research I did, these seemed to be the best quality for the price. I’ve been really pleased with them so far. To streamline the process of making the grocery list I used the cabinet beside the refrigerator. Once it’s ready I just take a picture of it with my phone and I’m all set. The little green decals are also made with electrical tape. I got inspired by a really cool wall on Pinterest by but changed the color to compliment the many plants in my kitchen. I really like Swiss crosses but totally forgot that a green cross means something around here in Portland. Oh well, I still like the color.

 

Here I utilized the end of the upper cabinet and the corner of my kitchen. The clip boards are great for organizing important papers which are tossed into the recycling right below. The small closet door is used as my to do list and weekly calendar to keep me on track. The best thing is that it simply peels off when you want and doesn’t leave a trace behind so you don’t chance your deposit.

Next time I’ll share with you my new organized pantry that I redid for under $40! Plus how to hide the kiddie clutter, and finding a dining space when you don’t have a dining room, that servers more than just dinner. Hope my ideas have helped to spark some of your own. Cheers!

 

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Living Room Midpoint Reveal

 

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Finally! I reached a mid-point in the living room remodel. I’ve been dying to post sooner, but living in Portland in the spring does not provide many sunny days. I have been waiting for the right amount of sunlight to take photographs. So as soon as the sun peeked out from behind the gray clouds I scrambled to get everything set up. I totally geeked out over my newest mini that I made this week. As usual I was browsing on Pinterest and came across a really sweet record player that I wanted in real life, so of course the house had to have one to! Here’s the player from ION that I love!

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Here’s my mini version…

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I can’t wait to make tiny vinyl for the player!

This was so much fun to make and by far my favorite mini to date. I took full advantage of a rainy afternoon drafting the design and working out the mechanics of the arm. I mean, what’s a mini record player without a needle that swivels right? Talk about tedious…the needle itself was a challenge. I’m still working out some of the finer details so my OCD can take a rest. I have to figure out how to design the feet on the player and perhaps paint the logo on the front. I decided against the volume control so it wouldn’t interfere with the arm.

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My hubs joking said that I had issues when I pointed out the tiny needle in the arm. It’s all about the details. A mid century console goes hand in hand with a record player like PB and J. As for the console, it got a bit of finishing touches on it as well. The legs were a bit too pointy and I it got washed out against the floor, so I decided to stain every thing except for the doors and legs. I tried coffee first, but it wasn’t quite dark enough so I used a watered down acrylic for the stain and then finished it off with bees wax. I’m really pleased with the result. It goes really well with the couch and wallpaper. Plus it makes the player stand out even more.

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As far as the wall, I had a long narrow mirror that ran the length of it, but it just didn’t feel quite right. I was really proud of it at first because I had salvaged it from an eye shadow compact with a bit of hot water and Goo Off. I tried to pry it off and broke it, so I used the opportunity to try another approach. I’ve seen a lot of circular mirrors lately in other dollhouses like this one from Whimsy Woods Designs that I’ve been admiring.

See this Instagram photo by @whimsy_woods • 368 likes:

I adore this little bathroom!

To make it a bit more dramatic I decided to frame the mirror. My first attempt at framing it was using brass wire that was twisted by hand and then hammered flat, but it wouldn’t adhere to the edge of the mirror without a ton of adhesive being exposed. On such a small scale it just stuck out like a sore thumb. Then I decided to try it with polymer clay. Talk about a DUH moment. So..much…easier. All I had to do was design the frame and then just bake it onto the mirror itself. I carved the surface of the frame to enhance the brass finish which matches the other design elements of the first floor.

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I’ve also been digging the brass plant holders and decorations that I’ve seen around the internet lately so I tried my hand at making one myself. I think it’s super cute next to the little aloe plant that I made from polymer clay. As you can see, there aren’t any base boards yet, but that’s on the list. I also tried to salvage the wallpaper where it ripped from the previous mirror, so I’ll probably end up just going over it again with another sheet. ( So glad I bought 2 just in case. They were on clearance for 19¢ at Michaels!)

The macrame chair got a bit of an upgrade as well. I really liked the green beads that I used but then stumbled upon a pair of wooded ones in a jar. I think those made a big difference. Plus the tassels got a bit of a trim to make it more to scale. Right now it’s suspended from a command hook, but later it will hang from a ceiling beam that I’m installing. They too were stained with a highly pigmented watercolor, but left raw. I know that most Mid Century furniture is rarely left raw or unstained, but this design is a merger of Mid Century modern, Scandinavian and Boho elements, so this representation is peppered through out the room. Hence the Mid Century, natural and raw side table I made.

I also painted the little poster on the wall. The sound of jazz on vinyl is music to my ears. I listen to it every morning during my commute with the family. At first I was going to mount a TV on the wall, but ended up wanting the main room to be where the family interacts with one another without media or computers.  I love technology as much as the next person, but all too often at work I see families all sitting together over a nice meal,…staring at their phones. This image came into play when I designed the main floor with an open floor plan.

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Looking out from the kitchen island.

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I hope you enjoyed my mini reveal as much as I did. This is only the mid point, so I still have a lot to make. I’ve been drooling over this Joybird chair even more than the IKEA Poang, so I’ll be working on that design next.

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I’ve also got some pottery, books and plants with macrame hangers to create over the next few weeks. ( So much to do, so “little” time).  Please join me again for part two of the living room remodel, I’ll post a few sneak peeks along the way on Instagram and the Facebook Fan Page. Till then, happy miniaturing!

A Fresh New Look for an Abandoned Dollhouse

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I rediscovered my love of dollhouses when my husband brought home a beautiful find off Craigslist. The furniture and house were in great shape, but I had visions of a more modern design. My daughter loved it and I was excited to make her a dollhouse of her dreams. (okay, my dreams). It began with a miniature of an IKEA couch and Billy Bookcase, because everything starts there, right?

We found the perfect little family to live in the house. She really loved to play with them and it was fun watching her little family come to life through her imagination. Then the dinosaur phase kicked in. The sweet little family was kicked out and forced to live in the toy box. Now the toy dinosaurs ruled the roost. Thus began the end of her love affair with her dollhouse as dinosaurs and Lego took over. I too put it aside but longed for her to play with it so I could as well. Eventually she outgrew the dollhouse all together and the decision came to sell it.

I came across the furniture that I had made while cleaning up the house. Something had been sparked. I had a dollhouse when I was a little girl given to me by my mother’s friend for my birthday. It was supposed to be a project that we did together. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait and it was fully assembled by the time he came by to visit. I had even made little curtains and bedding. I didn’t even have any dolls to live in the house, but it was the decorating and construction that I loved the most.

I’ve always been crafting of some sort. Either sewing, crochet, painting, sculpting, building or anything else that inspires me. So far this has been a great outlet for all my crafts and keeps me busy.  Here’s a look at the house before I dismantled it.

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Here’s the house before demo day. It’s very similar to the Plan Toys Terrace dollhouse. The window and door panels can be removed and rearranged for open play.

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Down to the bones.

Demo day was a bit of a challenge. The dowels were glued in place as well as screwed so I had to drill out some parts. The house had suffered some minor damage over the years so I was happy with my decision to completely remodel the house. After much searching on the internet I finally found the manufacturer of the dollhouse. It’s a Cheerwing Happy Family house. I thought for years that it was a version of the Plan Toys Terrace dollhouse. I found that the biggest problem with the house was that it was really deep. My daughter had to really stick her arm in to play. I took this into consideration when designing the new layout.

Starting from scratch posed many possibilities and challenges. The best way to tackle such a task was to use Sketch Up. It’s an awesome program and very easy to use.  I was able to draw a side by side, before and after illustration. I guess I’d describe myself as somewhat of an OCD (all of my friends know this part to be so true) creative type. I like to plan everything out and then let the more imaginative side take over from there. What I found was a happy medium between what I had envisioned and what was functional in reality.

After the house was completely taken apart, it was time for clean up. There was a lot of glue and a few scratchs and dents that needed to be sanded down.

 

Now onto the next step which is the flooring. It was a no-brainer  when it came to the flooring, all hard wood floors! The best way to make a hardwood floor was to use Popsicle sticks. I’ll be sharing with you how I was able to create beautiful flooring in my next post.  Thank you so much for visiting. I hope that you were able to find some inspiration of your own. Are you working on your own remodel? I’d love for you to share your work! I look forward to you comments and feedback. Cheers!